ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A woman who punched an Albuquerque Police Officer in the face before stealing her patrol car is getting a big break. Markeda Rivera, 39, faced more than 25 years for a string of dangerous crimes but she may not get any time behind bars at all.
Rivera first made headlines in 2019 when she sent a couple to the hospital after, they believe, she deliberately drove into a crowd downtown. Rivera fled the scene but then returned, almost hitting even more people.
Officer: “I don’t know if it was you guys, but she tried to run over you guys?
Paramedic: “Yeah, she almost hit one of our firefighters.”
Paramedic: “Came pretty f***ing close.”
Then in November of 2019, she again caused a dangerous scene on the road. A female APD officer was responding to reports of a woman stealing a car from a dealership, when the woman, who was later identified as Rivera, punches the officer in the face and then steals the patrol car; It took a pit maneuver to stop Rivera.
Trying to keep Rivera locked up until trial, prosecutors said she was a danger. But now, nearly a year after her latest arrest, they appear to have changed their minds.
On Friday, prosecutors with the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office offered Rivera a plea deal. The deal dismisses all but four of the 16 charges, most felony, against Rivera, and cuts her possible sentence from 26 years behind bars down to a max of three years. The deal also says it’s possible Rivera could only be sentenced with probation.
When asked about why a plea deal was on the table for Rivera, a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office said in part: “the Defendant was found incompetent and received treatment for her mental health issues. Considering her severe mental health issues, the State did not believe long-term incarceration was the best solution.”
Rivera is considered a habitual offender. She was previously convicted of dealing drugs in Indiana; Rivera is set to be sentenced in December.
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